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Two hundred and sixty (260) students between the ages of 3 to 12 years old from the University School in St. Augustine, got the rare opportunity to witness first-hand, the scintillating performances of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) on May 3, 2016.

Facilitated by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts via the National Steel Symphony Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago, the event aimed at exposing students to the Genesis Pan, NSSO and to career opportunities available in the creative and cultural industries.NSSO was formed in December 2007, and is an elite ensemble comprising of several of the country’s finest steel pan players.

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The youthful audience from the University School in St. Augustine is captivated by the NSSO Performance

In an address to the students, Jessel Murray, Artistic Director and Conductor of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra gave a brief overview of the history of the Orchestra and the Genesis Pans (G-Pans) which are utilized exclusively by the ensemble.  The G-pans were developed at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine by a team led by national award winner and Campus Principal of UWI-St. Augustine, Professor Brian Copeland.

During the interactive two-hour session, twelve (12) students got the opportunity to interact with the professional musicians and play Michael Jackson’s hit song “Human Nature” on the G-pans.

There was a mini-performance by the orchestra comprising of Prokofiev March, Overture to William Tell, Morning Dance, Olantunji Yearwood’s ‘Oh Yay’ and Bunji Garlin’s ‘Differentology’ which drew much attention and excitement from the students.

The session concluded with Dwayne Bravo’s Champion song which had the students dancing.

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According to one of the participants: “it was an awesome experience to play the Genesis Pan for the first time”. Another participant shared that “for me, it was exciting and enjoyable”.

This event formed part of NSSO’s outreach programmewhich offers special music presentations and workshops to Primary and Secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago. School tours were conducted at the Cedros Composite School on May 4th and St. Joseph Convent, San Fernando on May 9th.

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